The UK car market is booming, and that’s why more and more people there are looking to buy a used car or even purchase a new one overseas – particularly when it comes to getting hold of those models and brands that are rare and harder to find in Britain.
But what are the rules and regulations when it comes to permanently importing a car to the UK? Here’s a quick guide to help you out.
Step 1: Apply for Individual Vehicle Approval
Any vehicle that’s being imported into the UK must meet the terms of the Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989.
Vehicles imported from the USA that haven’t been registered within the EU before will need to apply for the Individual Vehicle Approval scheme to prove that they meet the safety and environmental regulations required by British law. Once you’ve been through the testing and approval process, you’ll receive an Individual Approval Certificate to confirm that your car is UK roadworthy.
Different rules may apply for a car that’s more than 10 years old – contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and order a vehicle import pack for more information.
Step 2: Find out what duty you need to pay
It’s likely that you’ll need to pay duty (also known as VAT or tax) when you import a car to Britain –the main exceptions to this are if you qualify for relief because you’re permanently moving to live in the UK, or because the car was originally exported from the EU.
Cars with engines over 48 cubic centimetres or that are electrically propelled using more than 9.65 horsepower that don’t qualify for relief for whatever reason will carry a duty charge.
You need to let HM Revenue & Customs know that you’re bringing a car into the country using the Notification of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) service, and they’ll let you know how much you’ll have to pay (if any).
Step 3: Register and insure the car
The next stage is to register the car with the DVLA, and then arrange insurance with a provider that’s authorised in the UK. To register the car, you’ll need original copies of your Individual Approval Certificate, evidence showing the date that the vehicle was collected (the invoice from the supplier should be fine) and the HM Revenue & Customs form to show you’ve paid any applicable duty.
Remember that, until you’ve registered and insured the car, it’s illegal to drive it on public roads, unless you’re on your way to a pre-arranged appointment to do with the registration. This means that you’ll probably need to arrange to transport your car from the port too, as you won’t be able to just drive it away.
If you’re looking to import your car or even purchase a new one, then your best bet is to find used car dealerships in the UK or follow the steps in this post. If you want more information on this matter then it may be worthwhile to visit the DVLA website.